Pet Safety in Disasters


Pet Safety in Disasters

Pet Safety in Disasters

Disasters happen in many ways: fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, severe storms, and even terrorism. In case of extreme weather or disasters, would you know what to do to protect your pet? Not including pets in escape plans can endanger pets, pet owners, and lifeguards. Even if you try to create a safe place for them, animals left behind in a disaster risk being injured, lost, or worse. Preparation: Make a plan and prepare a first aid kit for your pet.

1. Before the disaster:

To get started, learn about the types of disasters that can affect your area and consider your options for caring for your pets.

  • Disasters can happen without warning, so be prepared:
  • Make sure your pet has collars and tags with updated contact information and other identifications.
  • Microchip your pets: This is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are together if you are separated. Always be sure to register the microchip with the manufacturer and update your contact information with the microchip company.
  • Keep the belt and/or transport device close to the outlet.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate pet equipment for traveling in the car (luggage racks, harnesses, pet seat belts).

  • Prepare a pet emergency kit to facilitate the evacuation of your entire family. Ask your veterinarian to help you establish your pet’s veterinary records.

2. Make a plan:

  •  Plan where you and your pet will be if you need to evacuate your home. Pets are not allowed in local shelters unless they are service animals. Many disaster evacuation centers (such as Red Cross evacuation centers) do not accept pets or other animals.

-Identify shelters, friends, or family outside the city where your pets and other animals can stay.

- Place boarding schools or veterinary hospitals near the evacuation shelter and if you cannot return home immediately.

  • Create a friend system if you are away from home during an emergency. Ask a trusted neighbor who can keep an eye on your animals and evacuate them if necessary.
  • Find a local veterinarian or veterinary hospital where you can seek temporary shelter and add veterinary contact information to your emergency kit.

3. Create an emergency kit for your pet:

Prepare an emergency kit for your pet in advance:

  • Buy a cage for each animal (write the name, name, and contact details of the animal).
  • Provide food and water for at least 2 weeks for each animal.
  • For cats: litter
  • For dogs: plastic poop bags
  • Medications for at least 2 weeks.
  • Medical records, including records of vaccination against rabies and other diseases, prescription drugs, and medical histories.

  • Strong straps or belts
  • Chip number
  • Contact information (mobile phone, business phone, personal phone) of the owner and his relatives or friends.

4. Practice evacuating your pet:

  • Teach your pets to stay in their cages, making them a comfortable place.
  • Practice transporting your pet by driving it in a vehicle similar to the one you would be evacuating. If you don’t have a car, do business with your neighbors, family, and friends. You can also contact your local government for information on disaster transport options.
  • Know where your pet can hide when stressed or scared. Practice raising your pet if necessary.
  • For cats, you can practice getting your cat out of hiding and using a stroller, pillowcases, sturdy boxes, all to get out of danger quickly.
  •  Have your whole family practice evacuation with their pets so everyone knows what to bring, where to find them, and where to find them.

Diseases that can become viral in pets and humans during a natural disaster. Natural disasters can be attributed to the transmission of certain diseases. Exposure to adverse weather conditions, standing water, wildlife or unfamiliar animals, and overcrowding can put your pet at risk for disease. 

Some of these diseases can be transmitted between pets and humans (also called zoonotic diseases or zoonoses). Some common catastrophe-related diseases that animals can transmit to humans include rabies, leptospirosis, and diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.

  • Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of animals and humans. Anger is transmitted by the bites of rabid animals or by contact with their saliva. To protect yourself and your pet: Report the bite to medical personnel immediately.  Keep your pet on a leash or collar and do not allow your pet to interact with other pets.
  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease found in the urine of infected animals and can cause kidney damage and affect other organs. It is transmitted by contact with contaminated urine or water, contaminated soil, and food. Wash hands after contact with urine. Avoid standing water, especially after a flood after a natural disaster. Do not allow animals to play or drink contaminated water.
  • Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks: Mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks are common pests of strays and can be a problem after a disaster. Their bites irritate the skin and can transmit various diseases (Lyme disease, West Nile virus) harmful to humans and animals. 
  • To prevent mosquito, flea, and tick disease: keep your pet away from wild and stray. Talk to your veterinarian about the regular use of preventative treatment against fleas, ticks, and parasites on your pet.


After the disaster, family scents and landmarks could change. Pets can get confused and lost, so it’s important to keep them on a leash or in a cage when transporting or leaving. Snakes and other wildlife are dangers to consider for pets and humans, especially after floods and overturned power lines.

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